COVID-19 vaccinations and tests are boosting business at CVS and Walgreens as consumers clamor for jabs and swabs amid rising infection rates.
Walgreens said demand for shots has increased by more than 30 percent in states that had been laggards and that COVID-19 testing has more than doubled in some states.
Eight states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas — have seen vaccination rates rise by more than 30 percent in recent weeks as the Delta variant spreads, Walgreens said on Wednesday while the chain has doubled the number of COVID-19 tests it has administered from June to July.
Florida and Missouri and part of the Gulf Coast are seeing the largest spikes in testing, up over 30 percent week over week.
Meanwhile, CVS reported that its total sales rose by 11.2 percent to $72.6 billion in the latest quarter ending June 30, fueled in large part by increasing demand for vaccinations.
Its revenues at retail stores rose by 14.2 percent to $24.7 billion, the company said.
CVS has administered 17 million vaccinations and more than six million COVID-19 tests in the second quarter while Walgreens says it has administered 29 million vaccinations since Dec. 18.
Like a growing number of employers who are responding to the rising number of infections, Walgreens is requiring all of its employees — regardless of their vaccination status — to wear face masks again. Its corporate staffers are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 or to enroll in a COVID-19 testing program, the company said on Wednesday.
Walgreens “continues to monitor and follow the latest guidance from the CDC and local and state health officials and encourages all customers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear face covers in its stores to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement.
Separately, CVS also announced on Wednesday that it is raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 2022 and that just one third of its employees do not already earn a $15 rate.